Horse Packing with A Problem Horse

Smell of blood and game carcass Some horses do not like the smell of blood or even seeing an elk carcass. You don’t want to learn your horses don’t like smelling blood on your hunting trip. If you have frozen elk meat or another game animal, unwrap it and take the bloody package with its blood smell to your horses and see how they react. I put elk meat in my grain feeders to get my horses used to the smell. I nail fresh bear hides to my fence posts to get the horses used to bear smell. I do this every spring. Some horses never get used to the smell of blood and are very dangerous to you and themselves.

Years ago I had a mare, Rosie, we packed out 5 elk and 1 moose on her in one year and she never improved. On the last pack trip, loading my wife's moose, she reared up and on the way down hit me in the head with her front hoof. I was fortunate to only have a serious concussion. I was very wobbly, could not talk coherently and needed help getting back to camp.

Fortunately, I had John, a very good friend who is a doctor as a hunting partner. John woke me up every 2 hours the first night of my concussion. If I didn't wake up, John told me he was taking me to the nearest Forest Service location to borrow the rustiest drill he could find and drill holes in my head to relieve pressure on my brain. John stated, “we wouldn’t have the time” to go to a hospital because it was a 3 hour drive to the nearest hospital. I was very fortunate that I did wake up every 2 hours.

Unfortunately, Dr. John no longer hunts with me because he doesn't enjoy hunting the rough Idaho Wilderness anymore. However, he still fly fishes with me at the edge of the Wilderness. I sold Rosie to a friend in1986 with a full explanation of her bad habits. I thought that was good riddance.

If I had my rifle or pistol with me when she reared I would have made Rosie bear bait right there. All my current horses accept blood smells and two of them will even eat grain off a “raw” bear skin. The other two will eat the grain near the skin.

Horse Packing meat out with a problem horse - Be very careful. If the pack horse is too dangerous - pack the elk out on your back.

  1. After returning to camp for your pack horses, feed your problem horse a small amount of grain from your bloody hands.
  2. At the elk location, tie your horse’s nose tight to a tree so it can’t rear up.
  3. Load your problem horse last so he can see the other horse being loaded.
  4. Put one elk quarter on each side of the horse, about 5 - 10 feet away of the pack horse. Give the horse a small amount of grain each time you bring an elk quarter next to the horse.
  5. If the horse is still a problem - blindfold it.
  6. Load the horse quickly. Hopefully you have a friend with you so you can load both sides simultaneously.
  7. Give the horse some more grain and start packing out and place the problem horse in front of the pack string.
  8. Insure you don’t give your horse too much grain or it could founder.
  9. Horse Packing meat out on an uncooperative horse is very dangerous and be very careful.

If you have a problem pack horse and it does not significantly improve - get rid of it. Some horses can't be trained. Your safety and health is more important than horse packing with a wild horse.

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